Coun. Nathalie Chambers says “developers and lobby groups” are shaping policy in Saanich in promising to oppose any future relief of development cost charges. (Submitted).

Coun. Nathalie Chambers says “developers and lobby groups” are shaping policy in Saanich in promising to oppose any future relief of development cost charges. (Submitted).

Saanich councillor accuses development community of undue influence

Coun. Nathalie Chambers calls herself “guardian of the taxpayer” in calling for DDC implentation

A Saanich councillor says “developers and lobby groups” are shaping policy in Saanich in promising to oppose any future relief of development cost charges.

Calling herself a “guardian of the taxpayer,” Coun. Nathalie Chambers said the municipality can no longer subsidize developers, as council prepares to receive a staff update on development cost charges.

Saanich council earlier this year delayed three readings of a new bylaw, which would have raised development cost charges (DCCs) following last minute lobbying from the development community.

Council — with Chambers opposed and Coun. Colin Plant absent — also asked staff to estimate the cost implications for Saanich if the municipality were to delay implementation of the bylaw by six months, 12 months, 24 months and 36 months following adoption of the bylaw. Provincial legislation requires that Saanich delay implementation of the new rates by 12 months for projects already underway. Councillors also asked staff to bring back information about the length of time that staff need to process developments.

RELATED: Developers could get a break on development cost charges in Saanich

Saanich defines DCCs as fees collected from land developers on a user-pay basis to fund the cost of growth-related infrastructure such as sanitary sewers, transportation, and storm drainage as well as parks. While Saanich has continued to scale the proposed increases, they would nonetheless be significant. Under the current proposal, Saanich would charge $11,542 in DCCs for a single residential home outside of Cordova Bay — up from $4,809 for the same lot.

Adam Cooper, director of development for Abstract Developments, Travis Lee, president of Tri-Eagle development, and Greg Gillespie, development manager for Mike Geric Construction, had all asked council to delay implementation of the bylaw by three years. Gillespie said developers accept that DCCs need to rise. This said, he warned of rising costs without an implementation delay.

“We believe council does not wish to delay housing, and we also believe that council does not want to inadvertently increase the cost of housing, and that is exactly what is going to happen without a delay in implementation,” he said. “It’s not about profitability, but about project viability. If projects are not profitable, they are not viable.”

Chambers, however, said granting developers a break on DDCs would hit current taxpayers in the pocket, and burden future generations with sub-par infrastructure. “We need immediate implementation [of DCCs],” she said.

RELATED: Saanich set to raise development cost charges by 180 per cent

RELATED: Proposed charges will cost Saanich housing affordability

While the financial impact of any future DCC relief remains unknown, Chambers suggests that mere discussion of the topic points to the undue influence of development community. “It is open season for developers,” she said. “I do not see affordable housing been built in Saanich, but I see developers and lobby groups driving the bus.”

Chambers’ critique of the development community is the latest salvo in a long-running row.

Led by its executive director Case Edge, the Victoria Residential Builders Association (VRBA) has been a vocal critic of Saanich’s decision to raise DDCs against the backdrop of complaints about Saanich’s processing time and perceived interference on private property. VRBA has been especially critical of policies that Chambers has championed. Saanich, for its part, has promised to improve response times.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

The City of Victoria is hoping to ring in the summer by celebrating local art and offering some distanced, live music to surprise people in parks, plazas and other public spaces. (Photo courtesy of the City of Victoria)
Live, pop-up concerts and local art being showcased in Victoria this summer

People will see surprise serenades at 16 locations throughout the summer

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

Jada Benwell and Connor Larkey are the valedictorians of the 2021 graduating class at Parkland Secondary School. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Pandemic taught lessons in perseverance for North Saanich high schoolers

Parkland Secondary School to release 2021 grad ceremony video on June 25

The 14th annual Oak Bay Young Exceptional Star (YES) awards June 3. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay celebrates its Young Exceptional Stars with outdoor award ceremony

Nine young people recognized in 14th annual awards

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read